I was shocked and saddened to learn about yet another potentially harmful way that some people may be trying in a desperate attempt to lose weight.
The Sleeping Beauty diet involves taking sleeping pills, with the goal of sleeping through normal waking hours to avoid eating. Also referred to as ‘narcorexia’, this fad is not only ineffective, but also dangerous:
1. While it is true that not enough sleep is associated with higher body weight, so to is too much sleep.
2. When you are sleeping, your body’s metabolism is at its slowest. When you are awake and moving around, you burn more calories. Thus, people who sleep more than what their body needs are putting themselves at risk of weight gain by decreasing their overall calorie burn.
3. Sleeping at unusual hours alters the body’s circadian rhythm and the normal hormonal rhythm, which can has a negative impact on health from many perspectives. Poor sleep quality caused by messing up the body’s normal daily rhythm is associated with weight gain, due to alterations in the normal rhythm of hunger/fullness hormones, and an increase in craving for unhealthy foods.
4. Most importantly: sedation induced by sleeping pills increases the risk of all manner of dangers and problems due to impaired brain function while under the influence – car accidents, accidents at home, mistakes at home or the workplace… need I go on.
I am so terribly saddened that people out there are so desperate to lose weight that they are literally willing to sleep their life away to do it. Yet another powerful and compelling reason why the health care profession, and society in general, needs to uniformly accept obesity as a chronic medical condition and help people get the support and care they so desperately need.
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